On the day of Pentecost (Hokekaloust), tongues of fire filled the upper room resting upon the heads of Jesus’ disciples who had gathered together as had been instructed. In this dramatic scene, the disciples felt the Holy Spirit descend upon them as they began speaking in other languages and could be understood by a crowd of believers from other nations.
With the tongues of fire came the ability for the spread of Christianity to other nations which would soon reach the land of Armenia by the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew. This would become the birth of the Armenian Church and the nation’s religion.
Tongues symbolise God’s purifying presence which burns away the undesirable elements of our lives and sets our hearts aflame to ignite the lives of others.
The coming of the Holy Spirit (or Hokekaloust in Armenian) is celebrated by the Armenian Church, as in all Christian churches, 50 days after Easter.
As possessors of this beautiful faith, Pentecost points us to our personal Pentecost, for just as the Holy Spirit came to the Apostles, so too does the Holy Spirit come to each one of us at the time of our chrismation or confirmation with the anointing of the Holy Oil. As baptised infants, if we are open to that gift, it transforms us and inspires us to live a Christ-centred existence, in which the fruits of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control — can grow and thrive (Galatians 5:22).